Inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women postpones Edmonton, Thunder Bay meetings

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The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has abruptly postponed regional advisory meetings that had been set for Edmonton and Thunder Bay, Ont., next week.

The meetings, launched by Ottawa but independent from the federal government, aim to gather advice from survivors and families on what issues should be covered when the inquiry starts public hearings at the end of May.

The first meetings took place in Whitehorse this week and were to move to Edmonton and Thunder Bay next week.

But in a statement late Thursday, the inquiry said the meetings need to be “reformulated” to make them more inclusive, accessible and focused.

“We understand there needs to be more communication in advance about our process and the options available to those who want to participate,” said chief commissioner Marion Buller in the statement. “We need to be flexible.”

The inquiry has been criticized for failing to adequately contact survivors and families of victims.

The commission has asked families and survivors who want to share their stories to notify it by email or a toll-free number, but advocates say the commission should be initiating contact.

The inquiry said it has informed families, survivors, and community members who had planned to participate in the Edmonton and Thunder Bay meetings.

No new dates for the meetings have been set.

The inquiry is tasked with recommending “concrete actions to remove systemic causes of violence and increase the safety of Indigenous women and girls in Canada,” the federal government says.

It’s slated to provide recommendations in an interim report by Nov. 1, 2017 and a final report by Nov. 1, 2018.

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Inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women postpones Edmonton, Thunder Bay meetings

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